A strong competition from Chinese smartphone firms to the market leaders has been met with the latter putting up a strong fight. As a result global smartphone shipments have hit new peaks. The new data from Strategy Analytics shows that following a strong second quarter in 2014, the sequential successive quarter has kept the promise of growth upping the number of units shipped globally from 252.9 million to a record 320.4 million units in the third quarter of 2014. The figure equates to a strong growth of nearly 27% from the same quarter in 2013. This quarter saw the release of the much anticipated and surprising two versions of iPhone: iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, whose launch allowed Apple to increase its share for the units shipped. The wait for Google’s Nexus 6 phablet coupled with the holiday season and strong Chinese markets is expected to drive growth in the next quarter and it seems fairly plausible that the 1.2 billion units estimated by IDC in the beginning of 2014 may well be exceeded.
The Chinese players in the market have shown a consistent growth challenging the likes of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. (KRX:005935), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). However, in the third quarter of 2014 Xiaomi, which has had a strong presence in China and has been expanding aggressively to other Asian markets has dethroned Huawei to take the third position in a very competitive market.
Android Continues To Grow, Dominates With 83.6% Of All Shipment
The data from Strategy Analytics shows, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) owned Android is undeterred by the strong sales of iPhone 5S and the release of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The global smartphone shipments in Q3 saw Android increase its dominance to 83.6% of all the smartphones shipped. This growth was at the expense of almost all other OSs. The strong demand of low-end and mid-range smartphone devices like Moto E, Moto G and Mi3 in the lower spectrum of the market has resulted in Android gaining a stronger footing and higher sales. With these entry-level and mid range devices shipping the latest version of OS – Android Kitkat – Android is looking to reduce the fragmentation plaguing the market space. Google is looking further to fuel the growth in coming quarters with the launch of Android One in many more emerging markets including India, Indonesia, Singapore and Philippines.
With the release of new iPhones and iOS 8, iOS saw a growth in the units shipped in Q3, but was not enough to keep up with the overall smartphone market growth and resulted in iOS losing 0.9% of market share to Android in the quarter. A limited market presence in the global markets and the phenomenal growth in low-end market space has resulted in iOS failing to grab a sizable chunk of the newly developed smartphone market.
BlackBerry saw a lackluster performance from its BB10 range of devices, which failed to impress the consumers. This resulted in BlackBerry losing a 0.3 percent point of market as well as a decline of 0.2 million units as compared to the same quarter last year. However, there is still some hope for BlackBerry with all the hype surrounding the upcoming new “Classic” devices.
Windows Phone continues to struggle in Asian markets, particularly in the boosting Chinese market space, resulting in a decline of 0.8% point to 3.3% global market share in Q3 2014 2014. However, the number of devices shipped in Q3, 2014 by Microsoft saw a minor growth of 0.2 million to 10.5 million devices shipped.
Chinese Vendors Back Smartphone Growth, Xiaomi Hit Another Milestone
The record breaking growth of Android and smartphones shipped this quarter was a direct result of Chinese vendors Lenovo, Xiaomi and Huawei hitting their new milestones in units shipped.
According to the latest data from IDC, Lenovo shipped a record 16.9 million units in the third quarter ending September compared to 12.3 million units in the same quarter last year, hitting a market share of 5.2% in Q3’14. The 38% growth in market share earned Lenovo the fourth position among global smartphone players.
The shining star however in the latest quarter was Xiaomi, which owing to its wild popularity in Asian markets and aggressive growth, shipped 17.3 million units in the last quarter ending September, which is a massive improvement over the 5.6 million units from the same quarter in 2013. This elevated growth earned it the third spot among the global smartphone players beating both Lenovo and LG with a handsome 5.3% market share over the 2.1% it held in the same quarter in 2013. Xiaomi is expected to show more growth as it plans to expand to Europe and other Asian markets.
Huawei Technology Co Ltd (SHE:002502) though continued to show growth in Q3 as it shipped 16.8 million devices compared to the 12.5 million units in the same quarter in 2013. Huawei managed to increase its market share by 0.1 percent point to 5.1% compared to Q3 in 2013 though, it lost its 3rd position among the global players in the smartphones space.
How long will it take for these emerging vendors to aggressively compete with the big-guns is something to ruminate. But the narrowing gap between the preferences in the developed and developing economies makes one thing sure- competition is bound to increase-and who takes over whom is the biggest storyline to watch!